If you’re sending marketing emails (and you should be!) a crucial update just went live that’s shaking up the email marketing world. As of February 2024, Google and Yahoo have implemented new email sender requirements, particularly impacting those who send bulk emails. This change is significant, and understanding it is key to ensuring your email campaigns continue to reach your audience effectively. Let’s break down what these changes are, why they’re happening, and the actionable steps you need to take.
Google and Yahoo announced in October 2023 that starting early in 2024, bulk senders will be subject to more stringent requirements for email authentication. The core of these new requirements revolves around three key elements: DMARC, SPF, and DKIM.
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): This email authentication protocol is designed to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. The purpose and primary outcome of implementing DMARC is to protect a domain from being used in business email compromise attacks, phishing emails, email scams, and other cyber threat activities.
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This email authentication method is used to prevent spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain. With SPF, an organization can publish authorized mail servers.
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This email security standard is designed to make sure messages aren’t altered in transit between the sending and recipient servers.
These changes by Google and Yahoo are in response to the increasing sophistication of phishing attacks and email spoofing. By tightening the requirements for email authentication, these email giants aim to enhance the security and integrity of email communication, ultimately protecting both senders and recipients from potential cyber threats.
Actionable Steps for Compliance:
This may range depending on your domain host, these directions are based on Google Domains.
How to Set Up and Implement a DMARC Record in DNS
Log into your domain provider
- Select your domain name and manage custom records
- Select the TXT tab as the type of record you want to create.
- In the Name field, enter _dmarc
- In the Value field, enter your DMARC record, such as “v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:email@example.com;” replacing firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address where you want to receive reports.
How to Enable Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DKIN
- Login to the DNS dashboard in your domain host.
- Add the following record to your domain:
- Type: TXT
- Name/Host: @ or domain name or leave it blank
- TTL: default or 3600 seconds
- Value: v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all
Generate DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) record
- Sign in to the Admin Console.
- Navigate to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > Authenticate email.
- In the Selected domain menu, select the domain where you want to set up DKIM.
- Click Generate new record.
- For DKIM key bit length select 1024.
- For Prefix selector, we recommend you to select the default.
- Click Generate.
- Copy the DKIM values shown in the Authenticate email window.
Add DKIM to your domain host
- Go to the DNS settings in your domain host.
- Add a TXT record in your DNS Records and use the value generated in the Admin console.
- Note: Wait for 48 hours before following the next step.
Turn on DKIM signing
- Sign in to the Admin console.
- Navigate to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > Authenticate Email.
- In the Selected domain menu, select the domain where you want to turn on DKIM.
- Click Start Authentication. Process finishes when the status at the top of the page changes to: Authenticating email with DKIM.
Adapting to these new email sender requirements is not just about compliance; it’s about contributing to a safer, more secure digital communication environment. As daunting as these changes might seem, they are a step forward in protecting your brand’s integrity and your audience’s trust.
Need assistance in navigating these new email sender requirements? Alpha Align Agency is here to help. Our expertise in email marketing and digital security ensures that your email campaigns are not only effective but also compliant with the latest standards. Contact us today to ensure your email marketing strategy is up to date and secure!